My first Ontario winter living out in the country, and some days the snow doesn’t stop falling.
We make decisions sometimes; stop at the corner store, run that extra errand, or perhaps to stop and check the mail on the way home. I decided to stop and check the mail a few short days ago. Driving on our country roads you need to pull over to hug the edge as another car comes to pass, and sometimes that hug can pull us right in.
Within seconds, me alongside my two little companions, found ourselves in the ditch. Over the years, and especially over the past year as we’ve navigated the pandemic, I have come to realize how much we need eachother. How much all of life, needs eachother.
The kindness of everyone who passed, offering their help. A beautiful young soul drove the 15 minutes away to borrow his grandmothers tractor. I didn’t know if he was going to come back, trusting……surrendering into the ditch, breathing with my companions………….and trusting. When did we stop dropping everything to help one another, especially when we need it the most. Or when did that become a rare occurence. I have shared this story with a few friends and I am surprised at how shocked they are by the kindness of strangers. Once upon a time, there was no question, we helped without hesitation.
Suddenly, we saw the tractor meandering along the snow covered country roads, and this incredible experience of joy bubbled up from inside of me. Who knew a tractor could bring so much relief and so much happiness (I guess it depends on who you ask). I turned to my 11 year old son and asked him what he thought I should do to thank this caring young man, in his wise 11 years of life he asked me
Why would you need to do anything?
If you gave him something in return for his offer of help, he would feel obligated to do the same if he ever needed help, can’t you just say thank you and accept the help? If you gave him money, he would feel bad asking for help if he didn’t have money. You would want the same if the situation were reversed.
Mom, just promise to pay it forward.
Ahhh my eyes filled with tears, and it made me sad that in our society there are often strings attached, the simple kindness of strangers – helping eachother because it’s why we’re here – at the base of it all, how can we be of service to the greater whole, for no other reason than our innate nature to care.
I am so grateful, and will never walk away when someone has fallen. This doesn’t have to look big, and there needn’t ever be an expectation of anything in return. It’s why we’re here. In community we all do our part, we bring our strengths to the table and we offer our gifts. Those gifts are anything from knowing how to drive a tractor and having an open heart to help the lady and her 2 children as they find themselves stuck in a ditch with no way out, to offering a love filled soup to nourish your family or your neighbour, fixing a pipe, finding a book off a shelf for someone, or writing a masterpiece as a creative expression of your soul and balm for the soul of others…….
Reciprocity; nurturing the circle of helping hands, we offer from a place of compassion and gratitude, and we learn to accept, and the circle continues.
This week I ask you to take a bit of time to ponder a few thoughts
- How would you respond if someone needed help, a stranger? In small and big ways?
- How have you recieved the support of someone else’s kindness, often in unexpected ways?
- What does community mean to you, and what do you think your offering to your community is?
- What does reciprocity mean to you? What might that look like in your own life?
- Consider deep gratitude and appreciation as a form of reciprocity.
- What are you grateful for today?
I’m grateful for tractors, for a lovely young man who offered help, for the snow and the ditch that offered me this learning, and I’m grateful I live in such a special community.
Thank you for taking the time to share my thoughts today, as I watch the snow continue to fall outside my window.